“It goes back to what happened last year,” free safety Tony Jefferson said. “Our confidence is up now. Our mentality is much stronger. We don't want to be a laughingstock or give up all those points or yards like last year, we we're making a statement this year.”
Comfort in the system is a big reason for the improvement, Colvin said.
“We're comfortable with Mike Stoops and we're putting our trust in him,” he said. “Sometimes last year, some stuff was hard for us and I didn't feel like guys were really as comfortable out there as we should've been. I feel like guys are very comfortable out there this year and that's why we're making plays.”
Stoops, who is now 5-1 against Texas as OU's defensive coordinator, is having an impact that goes beyond Saturdays on the field.
While players tip-toed around things when comparing Stoops and former defensive coordinator Brent Venables, there's clearly a difference in OU's defense this season.
“He stays on edge,” defensive lineman David King said of Stoops. “He'll get in your face if you mess up. He's not afraid of doing it. All you can do is respect a guy like that. He's going to tell you what you're doing wrong as opposed to always loving you up when you do things right. That the kind of (coach) he is.”